236 B- POLEVOI Alexei's ears from the open window, the door opened and Burnazyan rushed out looking very heated. He shot an angry glance at Alexei and hobbled into the park, look- ing straight before him and shouting: ""Bureaucrats! Bunny-holers! What do they know about aviation? Do they think it's a ballet?. . . Short leg!. . . Damned enemas and syringes, that's all they are!" Alexei was conscious of a cold feeling in the pit of his stomach, but he walked into the room at a brisk pace, cheerful and smiling. The commission sat at a long table. Towering in the centre like a mountain of flesh sat Army Surgeon First Rank Mirovolsky. At a side table, in front of a pile of case cards, sat Zinochka, small and pretty like a doll in her white, starched smock, with a wisp of red hair peeping coquettishly from under her gauze ker- chief. She handed Alexei his case card and softly pressed his hand. "Now, young man, strip to the waist," said the surgeon, screwing up his eyes. Meresyev had not indulged in his exercises in vain. The surgeon could not help admiring his fine, well-devel- oped body, every muscle of which could be seen bulging under the dark skin. "You would do as a model for a statue of David," said a member of the commission, showing off his knowledge. Meresyev easily passed all the tests. His handgrip was fifty per cent above the standard, and in the respiration test he blew the indicator up to the highest limit. His blood pressure was normal, his nerves in excellent con- dition. In the end he pulled the steel handle of the strength-testing machine so hard that he broke the spring. "A pilot?" inquired the surgeon, looking pleased; and making himself more comfortable in his seat he began to write his decision in the upper corner of "Case Card. Senior Lieutenant Meresyev, A. P." "Yes." "Fighter?" ( "Well, go and fight! They want fellows like you over there, want them badly!. . . By the by, what were yon lad up with?"